How Accurate is OITNB? A Former Inmate Discusses the Show

Maggie Pehanick interviewed a former inmate who was 52 years-old at the time of her incarceration in the ’90s. This woman requested that her name be withheld. Here is how Orange measures up to real prisons.

Things Orange Gets Right:

  • A lot of people cry all night their first night in jail.
  • There’s a lot of sex in the showers.
  • There is a pecking order and the women who commit the worst crimes are higher up in the hierarchy.
  • The guard’s treatment of the inmates.
  • The food in prison is alright.

Things Orange Gets Wrong:

  • Inmates are released at midnight and are forced to walk to their destination. This inmate was  approached by two or three people about working for them as a prostitute.
  • Prisons are unbearably dirty. Orange‘s prison looks like a dream compared to where she stayed.
  • This woman claims she didn’t see any contraband, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hidden somewhere. Contraband is not crawling all over the prison.

Interesting Insights:

  • The interviewee said that “some people . . . couldn’t wait to get to prison because they felt county jail was beneath them.”
  • Inmates are allowed two to three days where you can leave to be with your family, but this inmate did not take this opportunity. She thought it would be too hard to reenter the real world only to go right back to prison. These two or three days are part of your sentence and are not added on.


This post is based on this PopSugar article.


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